Mar 4, 2015

Why Go to Seminary? (Part 1)


I'm quite excited to be writing this post. This signifies how close I am to wrapping up my season as a research coordinator and transitioning to become a wife and grad student. The changing of tides happened swiftly for me: two days after graduation, I landed my first job in a non-profit organization. In two years' time I got engaged and now resigning from aforementioned job. Somehow my spirit is looking for a margin—a chance to pause, to look back and plan ahead. After March 28, I will have that chance to just soak up life and enjoy the honeymoon phase before entering yet another new endeavor.

And this new endeavor is called seminary

I've had conversations with many people about seminary life. It has its pros and cons and different seminaries will entail different experiences, but they share the common goal of equipping the saints to build up the Church. For what? For the glory of God and his kingdom. Seminary has always been attractive to me since I was in high school, but my parents weren't too keen on letting me attend. The subject was brought up before going to college and a few semesters after when I wanted to shift majors. It was a "no" on both occasions.

I get a kick out of learning something new. I can easily follow a rabbit trail of information until I get the sense of "mastering" a topic. Something deep in my heart constantly tells me that I need to honor my desire to learn and to share it. But when? Where? How?

Then the Lord impressed this upon me: Don't concern yourself with these questions. Come follow me.

I wanted to honor my parents so I persevered until by God's grace, I graduated from university. As with any college grad, I tried plotting out my future and reached a point when seminary just didn't feel like it was for me. It was discouraging but also freeing to let go of an intense desire to acquire more knowledge; and that's what the letting go was all about—a heart check. Looking back, perhaps the Lord didn't want me to make it all about the MA (or M.Div) and about hoarding knowledge to satisfy my curiosities. Whatever I learn is meant to benefit others, as Andreas Kostenberger's book Excellence: The Character of God and the Pursuit of Scholarly Virtue described. Motives were examined and eventually, just when I thought the doors of academia have been closed, they burst wide open at the right time. 

*****

In 2012, Kimchi Taco started his graduate studies at Asia Pacific Theological Seminary in Baguio City. Fast forward to 2015 and he's already finishing his M.Div. (He actually graduates two days before we wed.) I've had the opportunity to visit APTS multiple times and connect with people there. I find my heart welling up with joy and excitement with each visit. I get the sense that I belong there. The multicultural community, professors, the library, the campus itself speak to me in anticipation that I will join them for a time.

Kimchi Taco witnessed firsthand the ups and downs of my desire to study again. After much communication (praying to God and talking it out with each other), we've decided that moving to Baguio City is the way to go. Living there will give us at least a year to adjust to married life. The time and space will also be conducive for creativity and studying, and for cultivating new and lasting relationships. 

I'll be a seminarian in June!

(to be continued)


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